The most Popular Posts of the past seven days.

Jul 11, 2020

These Are Among the Area Entities that Applied for Government PPA Loans

These are just some of the Montgomery area entities that caught my eye as I scanned the listings of firms and organizations that applied for money from the Federal Government's Paycheck Protection Program. 

Pro-Publica released a program this week allowing you to search the massive lists.

According to the Pro-publica, some 68,000 Alabama firms applied for loans to prevent layoffs (4.89 Million Nationally), including:

First Baptist Church of Montgomery                     $350,000 to $1-Million
(There are 107 pages listing U.S. religious organizations receiving loans.)

Jim Massey Cleaners                                              $350,000 - $1-Million

Beasley Allen Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles     $2 - 5 Million

RePower South                                                        $350,000 - $1-Million  (Owner of Montgomery's relaunched recycling plant)

Biscuits Baseball                                                    $350,000 -  $1Million
(Note: The Birmingham Barons also applied for a loan)

Trinity Presbyterian Church                                   $150,00 - $3-Million

Valliant Cross Academy                                         $350,0000 - 1-Million
(Male-only private religious school)

Matrix LLC,                                                           $150,000 - $3-Million
(A lobbying and political consulting firm)

MDJ SAZA LLC                                                    $150,000 - $3-Million

Doubletree Hotel by Hilton                                    $150,000 - $350,000

Alabama State Employees Association                  $150,000 - $350,000

FBC Community Ministries                                   $150,000 - $350,000

McPhillips Shinebaum, LLP                                  $150,000 - $350,000

Bahakel Communications                                       $2-Million to $5-Millon
(Owns CBS 8 TV)

Jul 10, 2020

Goya Goya Gone

 can you say
tono sordo?

New York (CNN Business)The hashtag #Goyaway was trending on social media Friday after Robert Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods, appeared in the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon and praised President Donald Trump.
"We are all truly blessed ... to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder," Unanue said during the Rose Garden speech. "We have an incredible builder, and we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president."
The fact that Unanue would associate with Trump was sufficient to anger some of America's most prominent Hispanic leaders.

...In an interview with Fox News Friday, Unanue said he was "not apologizing," and called the boycott movement "suppression of speech."

Mars Perseverance Rover

     We are three week away from the opening window of potential launch days for the newest Mars is now encased in the nose cone of the rocket that will carry it to Mars.

The nose cone containing NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is maneuvered into place atop its Atlas V rocket. The image was taken at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 7, 2020.
Credits: NASA/KSC

Jul 9, 2020

Retailers Closing

Another retailer with a presence in Montgomery is shutting down stores...

 H&M opened a store in the Eastchase outdoor mall in 2017.
 Now ABC News reports the corporation is closing 170 of them, thanks to the Covid19 economic impact.

(NEW YORK) —  H&M is planning to close 170 stores worldwide after experiencing a drop in sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After many of the fashion retailer’s stores were forced to close due to mandated shutdowns, the company has experienced a 50% drop in sales during the company’s first quarter.
There were initially plans to close 130, but plans have shifted to increase that number as sales have continued to fall.
No word on which stores will close, but the company operates 5,076 worldwide, so 170 is a relatively small number. As with everything, if it is a store in your town, then it takes on greater significance.

Jul 8, 2020

Montgomery's Wonder Years

From a Variety story: A "Wonder Years" TV remake will take place in Montgomery in the late 1960's. It will air on ABC-TV.

"The new half-hour comedy series would focus on how a black middle class family in Montgomery, Alabama in the turbulent late 1960’s made sure it was The Wonder Years for them too.  That puts the new show in the same time period as the original series, which was set between 1968 and 1973."
Original Cast

Show Description:

“How a black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama in the turbulent late 1960’s, the same era as the original series, made sure it was The Wonder Years for them too.”

Good Trouble For The Capri Theater!

Freedom Rides Museum to Virtually Host
Nationally Broadcast Event
with Freedom Riders and GOOD TROUBLE
Director Dawn Porter
(Montgomery, AL) The Freedom Rides Museum, an historic property of the Alabama Historical Commission, will host a special virtual event honoring the release of GOOD TROUBLE, a powerful new film about Civil Rights legend John Lewis. Fellow Freedom Riders Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Dr. Rip Patton and GOOD TROUBLE Director Dawn Patton (TRAPPED, GIDEON’S ARMY) will participate in “Let’s Talk About GOOD TROUBLE” – a live Q&A virtual event held in concert with Magnolia Pictures and the Capri Theatre. More than 300 theatres around the country are carrying the livestreamed event via their platforms.
“Let’s Talk About GOOD TROUBLE” is free and will take place virtually via Facebook on the Freedom Rides Museum Facebook page, Magnolia Pictures Facebook page, or at on Thursday, July 9 at 7:00pmCST/8:00pm EST. 
The livestream will take place at the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station – now the site of the Freedom Rides Museum – the very location where John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, and others stepped off a bus and were beaten by a mob while changing the course of history. Tune-in for a virtual evening in celebration of the newly released documentary and to all those getting into “good trouble” in the name of equality.
Newly premiered film John Lewis: GOOD TROUBLE profiles the civil rights activist and Congressman, who dedicated his life and a career to fighting for equality. The film has received raved reviews as it brings into focus an intimate profile of the crusader whose humble beginnings are cemented by Alabama roots. Universally admired as one of the most courageous and principled leaders of the Civil Rights Era, Lewis was one of the original 1961 Freedom Riders who mobilized to protest against interstate transportation segregation, and an organizer of 1964’s “Freedom Summer” to register African American voters across the South. As the young chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was one of the ‘Big Six’ Civil Rights leaders of the era. He was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Lewis has often been singled out for his leadership and bravery on the Edmund Pettus Bridgein Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965. There, along with 600 other nonviolent marchers, Lewis was met by Alabama state troopers who ordered the protestors to disperse.
Theatre goers will be familiar with the ‘talk back’ format, pairing subject matter experts with the film, or in this case, with those who stood beside John Lewis during various Civil Rights campaigns. The evening will highlight connections to the historic Greyhound Bus Station that now stands as a testament to the strength and courage of these ordinary, mostly young people, whose extraordinary acts of sacrifice changed the history of the nation and the world. Much like Lewis, the overwhelming majority of the Freedom Riders have dedicated their lives to the cause of equality and justice; their fight for freedom was not bound to the months related to the rides.
“We are thrilled to present this tribute to a living monument to civil rights, and hero from Alabama,” said Martin McCaffery, Director, Capri Theatre. “I only wish we were able to show it in the Capri Theatre where the audience could collectively express their admiration for John Lewis.”
For tickets to the film John Lewis: GOOD TROUBLE, please visit the Capri Theatre’s website: to experience the film from the comfort of your own home via Virtual Cinema. The Capri Theatre has generously decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the first week’s screening to the Friends of Freedom Rides Museum to continue supporting the work of the Freedom Rides Museum in documenting and interpreting this significant time in the Modern Civil Rights Movement.   
Men and women of diverse ages, races, and creeds, called themselves Freedom Riders, traveling under the banner of non-violent protest and the right to participate in desegregated travel as set forth in Boynton v. Virginia and the Interstate Commerce Act, which forbade racial segregation in public transportation. Their goal was to travel through the Deep South all the way through to New Orleans, LA in commemoration of the seventh anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The Riders did not begin or end their journey in Montgomery, AL, but their arrival changed the city and our nation.
Their Alabama journey carried them through Anniston, AL where their bus was firebombed; a second group of students on a Trailways Bus made it to Birmingham, AL where they were met by more violence. Finally, the last group of Riders, comprised of several students from Nashville, made their way to the Capitol city. Unbeknownst to those traveling to Montgomery from Birmingham, the protection of state police escorts drifted away, and the Riders, none of whom were older than 22, stepped off a bus at the Montgomery Greyhound Station on May 20, 1961 at 10:23am. They were met by a mob that grew into the thousands as the city descended into chaos. Riders, including now-Congressman John LewisJim ZwergBernard Lafayette, and others, were brutally beaten. The ensuing events surrounding their arrival initiated a chain reaction all the way up to the Federal Courts and the Kennedy Administration that resulted in landmark rulings by Federal Judge Frank M. Johnson, which continue to shape Civil Rights law today. Their goal was to help end racial segregation in public transportation – and they did.
The 1961 Freedom Rides were a watershed event, one Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described as “a psychological turning point in our whole struggle.” The historic bus station stands today as a testament to the effectiveness of nonviolent direct-action protest and how these methods were employed by ordinary citizens to garner broad support for the civil rights movement from national leaders.
The Freedom Rides Museum, located in the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station, profiles the courageous actions of more than 430 ordinary people who risked their lives and freedom for equal treatment under the law and is one of only two sites in the nation exclusively dedicated to interpreting the Freedom Rides and its enormous impact on American civil rights history. 
Eddie Griffith, Chairman, Alabama Historical Commission “We are honored to share the story of their courage and commitment to justice and equality for the thousands of visitors from around the world who visit the Freedom Rides Museum each year.”
“The actual scene of the event, or people may call it the scene of the crime, is important because as our young people come along, they have got to be able to put it into perspective. It is just not simply a narrative, but you can see the actual place. And that’s why I’m so glad the museum is there, at that same bus station,” said Freedom Rider Dr. Bernard Lafayette. “It shows it is a reality, and it did happen. We can go revisit that and be able to imagine it happening. It just isn’t an artform, it is a reality of our history.”
About the Participants:
Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. was born July 29, 1940 in Tampa, FL, growing up in Tampa and Philadelphia. At the time of the Freedom Rides, he was a student at the American Baptist Theological Seminary, in Nashville; a leader in the Nashville Student Movement. He stayed in Jackson after bailing out to recruit new Freedom Riders and organize the Jackson Nonviolent Movement.
Following the Freedom Rides, Dr. Lafayette worked for SCLC, helping run numerous campaigns, including Selma, AL, in 1961 and 1965. He served as the national coordinator for the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. In the mid-1970s, he helped develop a curriculum for Kingian nonviolence. He has since taught at several colleges and universities, serving as Senior Scholar-in Residence at the Candler Divinity School at Emory University and chair of the national board of SCLC. In 2016, Dr. Lafayette was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace for his work as a civil rights activist.
Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr. was born March 10, 1940 in Nashville, and grew up there. At the time of the Freedom Rides, he was a student at Tennessee State University, a drummer in the marching band and active in the Nashville Student Movement. Following his arrest and sentence in Jackson, he helped train subsequent Freedom Riders and continued to work in the movement.
In 1972, Dr. Patton began a career as a truck driver and was one of eight drivers chosen by the American Trucking Association to travel the country promoting highway safety. He was also the first long-haul truck driver selected to serve on the National Highway Safety Advisory Committee. He retired in 2006 in Nashville, where he volunteers in the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library, speaking about the movement. Every year he helps guide a civil rights tour for students from the Stetson School of Law.
About the Capri Theatre
The non-profit Capri Theatre is Montgomery’s longest continuously operating movie theatre. Community based, the Capri Theatre specializes in independent, foreign and documentary films and looks forward to the day it can safely reopen its doors to the public.
About the Freedom Rides Museum
Working with concerned citizens, The Alabama Historical Commission saved the Greyhound Bus Station from demolition in the mid-1990s. The Museum is located at the intersection of S. Court St. and Adams Avenue in downtown Montgomery. An award-winning exhibit on the building's exterior traces the Freedom Riders' history. It uses words and images of the Freedom Riders, those who supported them, and those who opposed them. Interior exhibits highlight additional information on the Freedom Riders and the way in which buildings were designed for racial segregation. Today, the Alabama Historical Commission operates this significant site.
Located in historic downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places. AHC works to accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and, statewide programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated by the AHC, hours of operation, and admission fees please visit  


“My personal belief is, I have faith in God,” he said. “If God wants me to get Covid, I’ll get Covid. And if God doesn’t want me to get Covid, I won’t.”
                                               (NY Times quoting a pastor in Oregon)

 The same pastor says people are using Covid19 to shut down churches.

HERE is the Times story about re-opened churches emerging as a major source of infections.

After the Runoff........

    Once it has been determined on July 14th who will be the GOP nominee for the Alabama U.S. Senate Seat held by Democratic incumbent Doug Jones, it will be interesting to see how many time the word TRUMP is used in the GOP nominee's TV ads.

     During the Primary it has been a race
between Sessons and Tubberville to see who can be closest to the incumbent president (despite Trump's bitter disparagement of Sessions and so-so endorsement of Tommy Tubberville). That may not be the case for the General election. Note this from a column/story in today's Washington Post:

"The lower Trump falls in the polling, the more other Republicans running for office will need to choose to distance themselves from Trump. Grumbling from other Republicans is starting to grow, and there are glimmers of daylight between the president and his party. I’m not saying that this strategy would work, but the more criticism that comes from his party, the weaker he looks."

Jul 7, 2020

Beginning Soon: Slicing Up A Massive Ship, The Golden Ray

The Brunswick News reported about the chain "cutting" process:

Already in place at regular increments...are the chains that will do the cutting.
“The cuts are going to be made by large sections of anchor chain,” Witt said. “We say ‘cut’ but it’s really going to be a ripping process through the hull.”
The seven chains were placed in specific locations on the hull, fed through crane-bored holes in the seabed beneath the Golden Ray. Divers attached the chains to awaiting cranes on the other side to complete the process. Each chain link weighs 80 pounds, is 18 inches long and 8 inches across.
To complete the big picture, imagine a structure taller than the road surface of the Sidney Lanier Bridge straddling the shipwreck.

 That would be the VB 10,000, the dual-hulled arching crane barge that will do the cutting and lifting. The VB 10,000 will arrive from Texas in July, entering the barrier through a gate on the seaward side that will be closed off with netting afterward.
Winches on the VB 10,000 will power the chains as they tear through the hull. Each cut will take about 24 hours, a process that cannot stop until completed once it commences. This should be an exceptionally loud process, particularly when the chains progress above the water’s surface in each cut.

WAAAAAY BACK---before Covid19---Ivey's State priorities.

     PEW has compared the priorities of Governors before COVID19 struck, and has found some common themes. 
     In reviewing Ky Ivey's priorities, it's striking how few social issues* were in her State of The State address, and she didn't mention housing even once (along with half of all the Governors). 

"Governors’ annual State of the State addresses offer a snapshot of 2020’s stunning reversal of fortunes, in which many states that started the budget year with surpluses suddenly have billion-dollar budget gaps. Most of this year’s addresses—which sought to set the stage for legislative sessions and highlighted priorities for the year ahead—were delivered weeks or months before the dangers of the novel coronavirus were clear." 

HERE is the Pew analysis. Use the pull down menu to select a state or an issue.

*0.6% of Ivey's speech addressed social issues, second lowest of the states, Massachusetts's Governor was lowest at 0.5%. 


In Case You Missed It, an NPR Report

Less than three weeks after the 1961 attack on the Freedom Riders, Montgomery's most prominent pastor, Henry Lyon Jr., gave a fiery speech before the local white Citizens' Council, denouncing the civil rights protesters and the cause for which they were beaten — from a "Christian" perspective.
"Ladies and gentlemen, for 15 years I have had the privilege of being pastor of a white Baptist church in this city," * Lyon said. "If we stand 100 years from now, it will still be a white church. I am a believer in a separation of the races, and I am none the less a Christian." The crowd applauded.
"If you want to get in a fight with the one that started separation of the races, then you come face to face with your God," he declared. "The difference in color, the difference in our body, our minds, our life, our mission upon the face of this earth, is God given."

Full NPR Story is HERE.

*Lyon was pastor of the Highland Avenue Baptist Church, and gave a segregationist prayer at George Wallace's inauguration.

Morning Quote

Confederate Flag, since removed at Montgomery Memorial.

From a Washington Post column about alleged racist statements by President Trump. The paper sent eleven GOP Senators facing re-election challenges questions about recent Trump actions. Though it wasn't in the questions, some responded about Trump's condemnation of NASCAR for banning confederate flags at its tracks, and false allegations that the only black NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace, was responsible for the "hoax" noose incident. Most of the eleven did not respond:

They think their silence protects them. But it does something else: It turns them into the handmaidens of white supremacy.


The senior GOP US senator from Mississippi (Not one of those sent questions by The  Post) said Monday that the decision by his state to change its "divisive" flag with the Confederate emblem was long overdue, while praising the decision by NASCAR to ban the battle flag of the Southern secessionists at its events as "absolutely the right thing to do."
"It's a symbol that more and more represents a day in the past that we don't want to celebrate," Sen. Roger Wicker said of the Confederate battle flag. He added that NASCAR's move to ban the flags at its events helped push the state to remove the Confederate battle cross from its flag, which stood for more than a century.

Jul 6, 2020

The Gov has $48 Million To Hand Out!!!!


 That sounds like a lot of money---and it is, except when you consider it will be part of the $7.2 Billion Alabama Education Budget.

     Where did the money come from? From the feds, the source of most of Alabama's funding. Yet Governors, including Ivey, always make it sound as if they wrote a personal check!     

      And there is increasing pressure to share a large portion of the cash with private/religious schools. From The N.Y. Times:

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, defiant amid criticism that she is using the coronavirus to pursue a long-sought agenda, said she would force public school districts to spend a large portion of federal rescue funding on private school students, regardless of income.
Ms. DeVos announced the measure in a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents state education chiefs, defending her position on how education funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, should be spent.

But, unless I'm missing something, it appears there is no money earmarked for private schools.

As they say, the devil is in the details, so we'll see.

APs 1st Draft of Trump's Recent History

Trump’s leadership is tested in time of fear, pandemic

"These are times of pain, mass death, fear and deprivation and the Trump show may be losing its allure, exposing the empty space once filled by the empathy and seriousness of presidents leading in a crisis.
Bluster isn’t beating the virus; belligerence isn’t calming a restive nation."


“If he could change, he would,” said Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “It’s not helping him now. It’s just nonstop. It is habitual and incurable. He is who he is.
Over three and a half years Trump exhausted much of the country, while exhilarating some of it, with his constant brawls, invented realities, outlier ways and pop-up dramas of his own making. Into summer, one could wonder whether Trump had finally exhausted even himself."

Jul 4, 2020

Oh sure, and where will those votes some from?

(Meredith) -- The Fourth of July was topped off with a surprise announcement from musical artist and entrepreneur Kanye West that he would run for president in the 2020 election.
The artist announced the presidential bid in a tweet late Saturday. 
"We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States," Kanye wrote in the tweet...

     Every vote for actually a vote for Donald Trump.
Think about it. You may as well go vote for Trump and get it over with.
      How much did Trump pay him to run?

Cartoonists, Where are you? Kill the garden!

    Has anyone found a cartoon yet that shows Trump's proposed "National Garden of American Heroes" with dozens of statues dwarfed by a HUGE statue of Trump's favorite American Hero--Himself?

     I can't draw worth a damn, but I am sure someone has done it or will soon.

      Of all people to propose a statue garden to honor people, Trump? He who makes up divisive names for people he dislikes.

     This is a non-starter, DOA. Put it on the list of Trump actions to be killed immediately once he leaves office on January 20, 2021.  
(After all, Trump set the precedent by killing programs begun by Barack Obama. And remember that President Obama, the most admired American for a decade running, is nowhere on Trumps list! )

Added: A Washington Post Column about Trump's proposal is HERE. And this is an excerpt, which questions the rushed nature of the project (Could it be the election in November?):

To hurry such work defeats the whole purpose of erecting statues, he said. Monuments are exercises in reflection, he said, a chance to plumb our collective memory and reflect on who we are as a country, what we value most and want to honor and pass down to future generations.
“For starters, you might want to consult different communities about who their heroes are and not just choose your own,” Grossman said. “You might also want to consult professionals, like actual historians.”

Update on removing the capsized Golden Ray

The two 255-foot tall gantries will use lengths of chain to cut the capsized vessel Golden Ray into eight pieces and lift them onto barges for eventual transportation to Louisiana for recycling. (Photos by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer John D. Miller)

They'll position this device over the Golden Ray and cut it into 8 pieces.

The ship was hauling some 4,000 new cars of unknown manufacture* from the Brunswick Georgia port when it capsized on September 8th, 2019. 

*Some sources say they were Hyundai and Kia cars assembled in Mexico for shipment to the Middle-East, meaning they were transported practically right next to the Montgomery Hyundai plant to be taken by ship to The Middle-East? Something doesn't sound right.

Jul 3, 2020

Obit: Nat King Cole's Brother

     The brother of Montgomery-born Nat King Cole, also a lifelong performer, has died. He was 88.
     The N.Y. Times has the story this morning:

Mr. (Freddy) Cole was an all-state athlete in high school with dreams of playing professional football, but a hand injury derailed things. “I couldn’t continue playing football, so the next best thing I could do was play the piano,” he said in a short 2006 documentary, “The Cole Nobody Knows,” which took its title from his 1977 album of the same name. “It came out to be my blessing.”

Jul 2, 2020

The Governor Speaks (via a "newsletter").

     She isn't fond of holding news conferences where embarrassing questions might be asked, but Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says he's all about transparency.

     She said that in what she promises will be a QUARTERLY "newsletter", the kind of 19th Century "communication" that doesn't require her to say diddly in response to reporter's questions. Do you find it "insightful and meaningful", as she says?

     Test yourself: does this communication leave you wanting more? To ask questions? Or are you satisfied with everything happening in  State Government?

Dear Fellow Alabamian,

As your governor, I strive to be as transparent as possible and continually work to keep you informed on the goings-on of my administration. It is something I think about everyday – how to connect with the people of our state. This newsletter is the first of what I hope will be a quarterly update of what has been happening in my office. I hope you’ll find these newsletters to be insightful and meaningful.

As you know, COVID-19 is not yet behind us. I’d like to remind you we are under an extended “Safer at Home” order that was issued on June 30. Summertime is such a wonderful experience in Sweet Home, Alabama – our beautiful beaches and lakes, walking trails, and state parks are wonderful places to visit. However, please be mindful as we venture out that the number of coronavirus cases are still rising. It is better to stay 6-feet apart from non-family members, and please wear a mask! We owe our COVID-19 frontline workers a debt of gratitude for their service during these unprecedented days.

I know 2020 has not been the year we expected. However, I hope that as we enter the Fourth of July weekend, you and your friends and family will celebrate our country in fine fashion all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

I hope this newsletter answers some of your questions, and please know that my staff and I are always happy to hear from you.

Enjoy your summer!


We certainly will....knowing that---with the confederate turmoil boiling up across the state and thw country--- the Governor of The FIRST capitol of the confederacy is "open to discussing changing some of the multiple confederate state holidays. Did she says that in her newsletter? No, of course not. AL.COm asked her press office and one of her minions provided a reply of some kind:

“Gov. Ivey is certainly open to the discussion and looks forward to hearing their ideas.”

Wow, that's certainly transparent. No wonder she doesn't hold open news conferences.